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A documentary film following the professional life of Ayrton Senna from his late Go-Kart racing career to his death, Senna pieces everything together from stock footage and voice-over interviews and does it in an interesting and compelling way.

I’m not a fan of F1 racing but the way this film is put together and shows you the life and events surrounding Ayrton’s career and the professional problems he faced through his time in F1 really keeps your attention and shows you the personalities involved. It all comes together to form a compelling narrative without need of going away from the subject matter, or including dramatised or specially filmed sections. The voice-overs add a sense of real affection for Senna without being overly sentimental. Though in just showing the events it does manage to tug at the heart strings at various points, between the fatal accidents and the reaction of the people of Brazil there’ll lumps in throats and tears in eyes for most.

There’s a lot of interest in the professional politics that overshadowed parts of Senna’s career and the sport at the time. From the way the heat for crashes came down totally on him rather than the blame being given to all who deserved it, to the way recommendations and advice were ignored unless it was managed to bring up in a meeting and get everyone onside with it and overwhelmingly show support against the management.

Of course a lot of the real interest there lies in the conflict of personality between him and Alain Prost, the real rivalry of his career. There’s plenty here to hold your attention and keep you interested, and it’s well worth seeing if you have an interest in the subject or just in seeing a good film, though maybe best avoided if you’re looking for an entertainment extravaganza, though if you were you wouldn’t go and see a documentary, would you?

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Reviewed by Kevin on 18 November 2011

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